Pick Your Omen

Last Friday, January 22, The ESOP Association officially said goodbye to its physical accommodations of the past 24 years, and started a new era in a different building. We moved only half a block away, (to 1200 18th Street, NW, Suite 1125, Washington, DC 20036-2506) but sometimes even small moves portend larger ones.

What can The Association expect in the next 24 years (or for however long we inhabit this space)? Will this new era bring continued growth and legislative success for ESOPs? Or will it bring decline and regulatory burdens that make ESOPs a thing of the past?

If you believe in this sort of thing, pick your omen from among the following choices:

  • At the very moment our move was scheduled to take place, the Washington, D.C. area was hit with an epic snow storm. When it was all over, more than 29 inches of snow had fallen at two of the region’s three airports. At the third, accumulation totals were thrown off when the measuring apparatus got buried (yes, in the snow). Maybe your city can handle more than two feet of snow, but ours isn’t prepared for an icy deluge of this magnitude.
  • Due to good management on the part of ESOP VP of Administration Gwenn Rosenthal, and the flexibility of a variety of vendors and providers, our move was moved up a day. The result? When the first flakes hit the ground Friday, all our boxes and equipment were already piled up in our new offices. If Gwenn hadn’t been able to speed up our move, it would have been delayed for days as streets and sidewalks were dug out, and our previous landlord might have hit us with a significant fee for overstaying our welcome.
  • Our new home is on the very same block where a U.S. president once lived. About 125 years ago, Theodore Roosevelt first came to Washington to serve as a Civil Service Commissioner. As president, Roosevelt was an energetic and fiery individual known for sticking up for the little guy, and one of the hallmarks of his administration was his success at breaking up corporate monopolies. A monopoly, of course, concentrates ownership in the hands of the few at the top. An ESOP, of course, distributes ownership among employee-owners throughout an organization.

So, which omen do you choose? Do you believe our future will be one where movement is mired and advancement stifled by factors beyond our control? Or do you believe that, like a well run ESOP, we can successfully manage situations and overcome the challenges we will face? Do you believe we can make a long-term difference, helping provide opportunities to shift the benefits of ownership from the few to the deserving many, as the Rough Rider himself once did?

For us, the choice is clear: We’ll take omens number 2 and 3, please.

(FYI, when you are in DC—either for The ESOP Association’s Annual Conference in May or some other event—stop by our offices. We’ll even give you the address for Roosevelt’s former home. Just don’t expect him to answer the door.)

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